Monday, April 26, 2010
I ran across this blog last night when I should have been working. Even if you're not into doilies, these are pretty impressive, and I love that she uses bright bold colours in them. Not like me in plain old white or ivory. I would love to branch out and get some colorful fine crochet thread for doilies, but finding that kind of thing isn't easy in Korea. Koreans aren't that into decorative crochet. They prefer to make practical things like hats, bags, and other wearables. Very Korean. Also, since I shop at the wholesalers, they rarely sell single balls. So, I'd have to buy multiple bags of thread in order to get a few colours. I don't think Sejin would like that idea.
Interesting day at work today. My bosses are not bad people, but they are typical hakwon owners. They asked that I come in on time: 1:00. I replied that I do come in on time, and usually I'm early. When I started this job three months ago, I was told to arrive by 1:30. They insist they told me 1:00, but that's not the kind of thing I would forget. So I was kind of put on the spot. It was really silly, especially since I go along with their rules about vacuuming and mopping my classroom, tutoring absent students before classes, and sitting through pointless meetings conducted in Korean. It never ends. Oh, yes, and I should come in for their special market/games day, which is not a day that I usually work. I asked, will I be getting paid? The answer was no, although they would want me to come in for a full day. I told them that I would not come in for a full day. I ended up agreeing to come in for a couple of hours.
I think I'll quit this job in the summer. I probably shouldn't, but I have no patience for these kinds of games anymore. Perhaps I'll finally use my tutoring license that I've been meaning to use for so long. There are certainly enough kids in this apartment complex. Then at least I wouldn't have deal with such ridiculousness.
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Pattern by Isabella Beeton, published 1877, found here.
It's an asymmetric doily! So cool! It seems no one else is interested in this stuff. One person on ravelry is attempting this now, and I think I might become the second. The reason may be because you have to learn the old terminology, but there's a section at the front of the book with pictures and descriptions. From what I've seen, I think I could figure it out.
Was I born in the wrong era?
Back to work.
Friday, April 23, 2010
This is simply amazing: the antique knitting pattern library. I love clicking randomly on a book and seeing the original scans. It's amazing that women used to make so many things. While it's nice that women don't have to do these things anymore, it does kind of make one sad to think that almost everything we use is mass-produced. It seems most people do not appreciate the care that goes into making something anymore.
Some other links of interest:
-1884 knitted lace sample book. An antique book collector found a number of newspaper clippings glued into the back of an old book. They contain patterns for lace edgings and insertions. She is knitting and charting each one.
-Home Work (1891). This is where I found the smyrna edging I knit and is pictured in my previous post. The garment I was making did not work out. I picked up stitches along the edge of the edging and knit a couple inches in stockinette. I could tell two things: A) it wasn't going to be big enough for Grace, and B) I was using a ridiculous technique for such a garment. But I had an epiphany while I was knitting. The only way I could knit off an edging for something like that would be to do a provisional cast on, knit the edging to the desired circumference, graft the two edges together to make a continuous round edging. Then, pick up stitches with a circular needle and knit up in the round. I don't regret the time spent on the garment because if I had not attempted it, I would not have had that epiphany. Now that I know what I have to do, I have to finally order a Denise Interchangeable Set, as I've been talking about for so long.
-Free Vintage Knitting is always fun to browse for the photos, if anything.
-Here are some great old crochet patterns.
Well, work to do now.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Anyway, I'm on row 21 of 25 on Crocus Doily. At this point, each row takes quite a bit of time to finish. I hope to be done this next week. Won't be doing this one again, though.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
I work two days a week at a hakwon. In only two and a half months, I have seen a huge improvement in a lot of my student's English, or at least their motivation to learn it. I'm seeing kids use the vocabulary I'm teaching, sometimes even idioms, and saying they like my class. This is a lot, because these students had a terrible teacher before me (she was a Korean English teacher who conducted the entire class in Korean), and they are some of the lowest level students I've ever taught. I'm doing the best I can with what I have (bosses refused to buy me certain materials I have asked for, like CDs and flashcards), and it's paying off. Do you think that's enough for my bosses? Of course not. I should use a crayon to draw a big circle on their pages -- not a pen. I should come in early to teach the students who were absent last class (for free, of course). I should only give high marks on reports, even if the student can't spell his name.
This isn't new to me, but even after so many years here, it's still shocking. And it's wearing me down. My bosses aren't bad people, but their inability to see my students' improvements and the importance of them is really frustrating. Why even bother?
Publishers. I'm currently working with two Korean publishers, E and D. I keep accepting this work because I keep trying to convince myself that it's good work. Yeah, it's flexible. But I end up doing this work late at night because I truly don't have a lot of time to do it, even when Grace is in daycare. When she's in daycare, and I'm at home, there is laundry to be done, the apartment to clean, shopping to do, and food to cook. I really don't have much time to write, like I did before I had a baby.
But that's my problem. The other problem is somem of the people I work with. When they send me revisions, it would help a lot if I could understand them. I just got a bunch of feedback from D publisher and I swear, I do not understand what this person is talking about in many of her comments about my writing. Her English doesn't seem to be good enough to be supervising the writing of ESL coursebooks. And the sample she gave me was a piece of garbage. Oh, so there are two activities per page, rather than one? That's a big freaking difference you're telling me now right after I've signed and sent you the contract. I just sent her an email with a hint of snark...but she probably won't pick up on that, anyway.
Same with E publisher. The sample they went me was "missing" some scripts that need to be written every unit. I love it. Her revision of the first unit was full of "Sorry, my sample wasn't so good. This one needs another dialogue." Cute.
So, I'm in bad mood. My kid got me up at 5:00 a.m. this morning and seems to be getting another cold. I dragged myself into work today with a sandwich and coffee I picked up on the way, and received a call from my boss at 1:25 (which I didn't answer). I'm usually early to work, but I'm always there on time (by 1:30). I arrive to find a bunch of kids from different classes in my classroom and I'm supposed to catch them up because they were absent. I was pissed. They told me to be to work by 1:30 so that I could clean my classroom (yes, I have to vacuum and mop my classroom), sit through a pointless meeting, and start teaching at 2:20. No problem, but that's supposed to be prep time (and also eat my lunch time).
I think I've reached the point of "no more." I'm not going to quit my jobs now, but after these current books are done, I'm going to need a bit of a break, as stress levels are rising a little too high. Ah, I should have been writing some listening dialogues instead of writing this post, but screw it. I'm going to lay in bed with The Toddler Whisperer and rest up, for I fear I will be keeping Grace home from daycare tomorrow due to her cold. And then I'll be even more behind.
Monday, April 12, 2010
Friday, April 9, 2010
I was out and about in Seoul today. Fridays have become "me" days. I had a doctor's appointment in Hannam-dong, so I went into the city early to do some looking around Myeong-dong. My, things change so fast. I haven't browsed around Myeong-dong in around a year, and I can't believe all the stores that are gone, and the new ones that have popped up. There are so many new "road shops"...those beauty shops like Face Shop, Etude House, Missha, Tony Moly, Innisfree, etc. I had to chuckle at the name of a new one called "Bavi Phat." I did venture into a Tony Moly and the saleswoman was kind enough to point out my dark circles and recommend a product.
If anything, the shopping trip did confirm my need for a sewing machine. I was excited to look around a store called "Forever 21" after hearing so much about it. Well, they wanted about $50 for a simple skirt (like two pieces of fabric with an elastic at the top). They had cute things for babies...especially if you like paying $60 for a baby dress. I kept thinking about how easy it would be to make this and that if I had a sewing machine.
Also on my list was to check out a store called H&M that I had heard rave reviews of. This store was more my speed, but still nothing to write home about. I was excited to see some nice jeans, and then after seeing that they were $79, I quickly went to check out the kids' section. To be honest, the kids section is worth checking out. The prices were reasonable, and they had a big Hello Kitty selection. I ended up buying Grace a HK T-shirt, some basic white leggings I had been looking for on gmarket but failed to find, and a summer hat. I was proud of myself for not going overboard, as a lot of the stuff was really cute. I received a lot of hand-me-downs from friends a while back, so I kept reminding myself of that.
Finally I hit Uniqlo, which is my favourite store for basics, met my friend A for lunch, and finally had my dr's appmt. It was a good day. Nice to be out shopping on my own, and the weather was great. After having a good day like that, it's so nice to go and pick up little Grace at daycare and have a relaxing evening together. The down side is, I have lots of work to catch up on this weekend.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Friday, April 2, 2010
I've been thinking a lot lately about my own talents and abilities and how I can work them into my future. I really want to incorporate them, but this would require a lot of work and creativity in itself. You see, I don't think I am a very creative person. People say to me all the time, "You're so creative. You make all these things..." Yes, I make them, but I follow pre-written, pre-tested patterns, often to the very last stitch, which is actually a very logical, left-brain exercise. Knitting does not necessarily require creativity. It requires patience and the ability to follow detailed instructions. I think perfectionists make good knitters.
There's nothing wrong with how I approach knitting, but I've been feeling lately that I'm a bit like a robot knitter, often adding nothing personal to my work, fearing to venture outside the pattern. I'd really like the change that. I'm not saying I'd necessarily like to become a pattern designer, because I don't know if that is attainable, but I'd like to branch out a bit and be a little more creative.
I don't know everything about knitting yet, so in the future, I'm going to try to choose patterns that either challenge me to learn a completely new skill and grow as a knitter (like fair isle, something I've been afraid to try), or abandon patterns altogether and see what I come up with. I have been thinking lately that combining knitting and sewing, or knitting and crochet might be a good place to start. Let's see if I can do this. I'll set a realistic goal and say that sometime in 2010, I should knit at least one thing that is purely a product of my own creativity.